(Mainichi: July 15, 2015 – p. 5)
The Liberal Democratic Party, Komeito party and Japan Innovation Party will continue to discuss a package of security bills despite their failure to clinch a deal on July 14. The ruling parties are seeking to build cooperative ties with the JIP with an eye on a House of Councillors vote on the legislation and political developments afterward. The JIP, for its part, has decided to hold talks with the ruling bloc to demonstrate its position as a “responsible opposition party.” But some JIP members object to the ruling bloc’s tactic of railroading the bills. The three-way talks will likely run into various obstacles down the road.
“Our exchange of views was very fruitful and we share common understandings in some areas,” said LDP Vice President Masahiko Komura after a two-hour meeting with the Komeito party and JIP. “We held extremely significant and constructive talks,” said JIP Secretary-General Mito Kakizawa.
The ruling parties have agreed to hold talks with the JIP in an effort to brace themselves for deliberations in the Upper House. The Democratic Party of Japan wields more influence in the chamber than in the Lower House. The LDP predicts that debate in the Upper House will be heated.
The Upper House is expected to deliberate on the security bills until early September. The government and the ruling bloc have no intention of revising the basic framework of the legislation, but they have not rejected the possibility of looking into a “territorial protection bill” that has been proposed by the JIP to respond to so-called gray-zone situations.
The ruling bloc is considering making some sort of concessions during deliberations in the Upper House to ensure they win cooperation from the JIP to vote on the bills. By doing so, they hope to tone down their high-handed approach in putting the bills to a vote.
The JIP hopes to capitalize on its continued talks with the ruling parties to promote itself as a responsible opposition party. Though opinions are divided over the Lower House vote on security legislation, some people are calling for the party to distance itself from other opposition forces that “object to everything.” Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto, supreme advisor of the party, has long argued that JIP should clearly distinguish itself from the DPJ and that boycotting deliberations is akin to stealing taxpayers’ money.
However, the JIP is strongly opposed to holding a vote on July 15. “The LDP is violating the principle of faith and trust,” said Nobuyuki Baba, chairman of the JIP Diet affairs committee. “The ruling parties made the proposal (on continuing the three-way talks) and now they are overturning it so we cannot continue the talks.”